Robert B. Livingston
August 3, 2013
Program includes segment debating Nader, ABB wisdom.
This program concludes with a heated debate between journalist Norman Solomon and Ralph Nader's press secretary Kevin Zeese about Nader's independent campaign in the 2004 presidential election.
Recorded with only a week left before the November 2, 2004 election, Democracy Now! devotes the last half of the program to a debate over the wisdom of either Nader's run or the progressives' almost universal and undemanding endorsement of Democratic Party candidate, Senator John Kerry.
As a Nader supporter, I have been flummoxed by the media's long overdue lack of attention to this critical debate, and must applaud Democracy Now! for finally covering this story.
Life in America under George W. Bush has become a surreal experience. Integrity seems less and less consequential even on the left where a majority of progressives who are against the United States' war in Iraq-- will stubbornly stump for a candidate who speaks publically about tracking terrorists down to "kill them" (whatever happened to the phrase, "bring them to justice"?) and sending more troops to the battlefields.
Taking up the argument for the ABB (Anybody But Bush) side, Norman Solomon argues that the Nader campaign doesn't seem to care whether Bush or Kerry wins, and that the overwhelming consensus of progressives to support Kerry as their goal should be respected.
Zeese, on the other hand, argues that Kerry may well lose because progressives hadn't demanded that he take a stand against the war, or substantially address any of the glaring needs that are unaddressed by leaders in America today. He takes the position that Nader's purpose in the race is to keep the truth alive when a majority are smothering it, and that progressives must, like Nader, make demands if we are to ever achieve a true government that is of, by, and for the People.
Anyone interested in the subject of third party candidacies, Nader's candidacy, the ABB phenomenon, contemporary McCarthyism and fear, or the schism between progessives over the argument about how means are justified to achieve an end-- will find this debate and program elucidating.
Related programs at Democracy Now! are:
The program in which Nader expresses his belief that our "democracy" is broken, and how the progressive movement is sacrificing its beliefs for expediency. Monday, October 4th, 2004.
The program in which Howard Zinn admits how he did not fully comprehend the letter he signed asking Nader to drop out of the presidential race: Thursday, October 14th, 2004.
The program in which Noam Chomsky brushes off the consequence of his denial of support for a Nader candidacy because he says (among other things) that the elections are themselves of little consequence:
Thursday, October 21st, 2004.
This review was written four days before the election. Two things are certain: Nader will not win the office he seeks, and questions about how activists are to achieve a more humane and just world will not go away.